2013 In Review: Top Minnesota News Headlines

[Jan.-Feb.] | [March-April] | [May-June]
[July-Aug.] | [Sept.-Oct.] | [Nov.-Dec.]

In 2013, Minnesota lawmakers ushered in a new era of marriage equality and butted heads over such issues as the MNsure health insurance exchange and funding for the proposed Vikings stadium, which ultimately broke ground in December.

But elsewhere, Minnesotans’ acts of kindness captured our attention, from the Dairy Queen manager whose generosity after a blind customer was robbed of $20 earned him Warren Buffet’s commendation, to the man who threw $1,000 into the Mall of America rotunda on Black Friday … and was subsequently arrested.

We reported with heavy hearts unimaginable tragedies, such as when a mother’s car plunged into a pond, killing 2 of the 5 children inside.

However, from some tragedies sprung new hope, as when “Clouds,” the song young Zach Sobiech wrote when he found out he had terminal osteosarcoma, climbed Billboard and iTunes’ charts following his death.

Controversies raged from many corners — after high schoolers were disciplined for shooting their own “Harlem Shake” viral videos, after Adrian Peterson stated that he was “not with” gay marriage, after a lesson on structural racism chided some students.

But, in the end, many of the stories that will endure from 2013 highlighted that quintessential Minnesota character.

This is, after all, the land where a 4-year-old can become the world’s cutest mayor, where kids can enjoy a snow day in May, and where a Prince sighting is always a potential soundcheck away.

Here are some of the top headlines from 2013 as WCCO originally reported on them:

Top 2013 Headlines: July & August

July 15: Judge Gives Aaron Schaffhausen 3 Consecutive Life Sentences

Aaron Schaffhausen, 35, had admitted he killed 11-year-old Amara, 8-year-old Sophie and 5-year-old Cecilia at their River Falls home in July 2012 to hurt his ex-wife, but argued he had a mental defect that kept him from knowing it was wrong. A jury disagreed and found last April that he was sane when he slit the girls’ throats, tucked them into bed, then tried to set the house on fire to cover his crime.

July 18: Sheriff: 2-Year-Old Boy’s Body Was Found In Trunk

“Why didn’t they look?” said one volunteer Thursday who had searched for Isaiah. “That’s all I can say. Why didn’t they open that trunk up and look.”

July 18: Schoep The Dog Passes Away At Age 20

We first met Schoep after a photo of him and his owner, John Unger, went viral last year. The two were captured floating in Lake Superior — a typical routine for a dog owner who wanted to find joint pain relief for his beloved four-legged friend.

July 22: Thinking Of Renting Out Your Home? Don’t Get Stuck With These Tenants

The housing turnaround has many Minnesotans looking to upgrade. But if you’re thinking about buying a new home and renting out your old one, this story should serve as a warning. We found one family moving into rentals across the metro and living for free for months at a time. WCCO-TV also found out how these renters have been able to skirt the system for so long and what they did to at least one property that has them in even more trouble.

August 6: MN Now Has One Of Its First Same-Sex Divorces

It wasn’t just same-sex marriage that became legal last week, so did same-sex divorce. Tuckner and her ex-partner were married in Canada in 2004. Three years ago, her partner left her and their 7-year-old son.

August 19: Not Everyone Loving MNsure’s Paul Bunyan-Themed Ad Campaign

More than a million people are expected to sign up for MNsure online and Republican critics don’t expect it to go smoothly. In fact, instead of Paul and Babe, GOP Rep. Peggy Scott is suggesting another Minnesota legend might be a better fit. “I’m thinking go back to Bob Dylan. He’s a folklore guy, right? And he has a song called ‘Everything Is Broken.’ I think that might be more appropriate,” Scott said.

August 23: Booth At State Fair Accused Of Being Backed By ‘Hate Group’

State Fair general manager Jerry Hammer says even if you don’t agree with the message the group is promoting, it’s a matter of free speech. “We’ll have between 1.7 to 1.8 million people at the fair this year. I guarantee every one of them will find something somewhere they disagree with,” he said.

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